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Smitha Sehgal

if cities became rivers, our homes would be boats in which we would

sail away to sea, through the windows we shall look at the starry sky

luring the sharks with the promise of wings woven of silver clouds


if our homes became boats, our backyards would be seashores where

we would plant trees of torment to put forth coral leaves, they shall

sing chorus to the boatman’s song wandering into a grove of snakes


if our backyard became a seashore, our feet would become fins and we maysurf through the glint of the sun dipping the sea in the orange light of dementia

eating lotus seeds in joyous abandon that grows in nothingness


if our feet became fins, morning glories shall shed blue ink in the reveries

of dragonflies pausing by the lake of brown leaves of mulch where maple bug lays eggs

we shall cough up brown leaves, more brown leaves, even more, brown leaves


the mound of brown leaves shall sigh in the mist, their sad eyes shall swallow

sky and morning glories, ebb and flow of tides becoming tea-colored

words on the verandahs of tomorrow that will become fallen strands of sunlight


thus, our cities shall become sunlight on the blackboards of cold classrooms

on frostbitten nights, we shall rub the sunlight in our palms to light a fire

dissembling, we shall map our flight to anonymity in the chronicles of migrant lilacs

Smitha Sehgal is a legal professional and poet oscillating between Delhi and Calicut, her beloved seaside home. She writes poetry in two languages- English and Malayalam. Her poems, fiction, and book reviews have been featured in contemporary literary publications such as  Reading Hour, Brown Critique, Kritya, Muse India, The Wagon Magazine,  Usawa Literary Review, Parcham, Madras Courier, Water Video Mag, Poetica Review UK, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Arkana (upcoming), EKL Review, The Criterion, Kalakaumudi, Samakalika Malayalam, Kalapoorna, ShadowKraft, Da Cheung (Korean Literary Journal) and anthologies including  “40 Under 40: An Anthology of Post-Globalisation Poetry”, “Witness -Red River Book of Poetry of Dissent, World Poetry Anthology from Nepal (upcoming).

 Smitha Sehgal
Smitha Sehgal
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